Despite Law, Imprisoned Mothers Still Shackled While Giving Birth


From the Guardian:

Imagine being pregnant and going into labor. Now imagine having handcuffs around your wrists attached to a chain, leading to a chain wrapped around your waist. Another chain leads from your waist to your feet, where cuffs keep them only inches apart. This is a practice known as shackling.

Across the United States, prison policy dictates that people be shackled whenever they are transported outside the prison. Many states make no exceptions for women in labor, childbirth or postpartum recovery.

In 2009, after extended advocacy and lobbying from prisoner rights organizations, New York passed legislation that bans the use of restraints on women during labor, delivery, and postpartum recovery. It largely bans the use of shackles on women who are taken to the hospital for a caesarean section or to be induced, as well as when women are returning to the prison from the hospital. But shackling continues to be a common reality for mothers who give birth while in New York state’s prison system.

Maria Caraballo was five months pregnant when she arrived at Bedford Hills, New York’s maximum-security prison for women. In February 2010, nine days after her due date, she was taken to Westchester Medical to be induced. She had learned about the anti-shackling law the month before and, as officers prepared to place her in the van, she told them it was against the law to shackle her. “You have no choice,” she said the officers told her. “If you refuse we’re going to write you up.”

Read more at the Guardian

Molly Ann Dutton: More than a homecoming queen


22-year-old Molly Ann Dutton was recently crowned homecoming queen at Auburn University. But she more than the university’s 100th homecoming queen, she’s a living miracle.

Molly Ann’s biological mother was a victim of sexual assault, resulting in pregnancy. Faced with the difficult choice to either abort the baby or get a divorce from her husband (yes he threatened her with the action), she moved to Alabama to have the child and give it up for adoption.

Now, Molly Ann is sharing her life story in hopes of raising awareness about options available to women during unexpected pregnancies.

California Prisons Illegally Sterilized Female Inmates

We wish we could say we are shocked by this news, but at this point it would be shocking if things like this didn’t happen.

News has surfaced that two prisons in California illegally sterilized women inmates:


Prison doctors in California sterilized nearly 150 female inmates during the course of four years without ever obtaining proper approval from the state, a new investigation reveals.

Mississippi Could Soon Jail Women for Stillbirths, Miscarriages

The case of Nina Buckhalter could set a terrible precedent in Mississippi.

Buckhalter is currently on trial for charges of manslaughter.

Why? Because in 2009 she gave birth to a stillborn child, and doctors found traces of drugs in her system.

In Mississippi, the law is so vague that it allows prosecutors to charge women for stillbirths and miscarriages, and they seem to be using the law in just that way:

Shay-la Taylor Was in Labor While Oklahoma Tornado Destroyed Hospital

Shay-la Taylor endured the unthinkable; the 25 year-old was in labor during the massive Oklahoma tornado!

With her husband and son forced to seek cover on another floor of the hospital, Taylor was stuck in an operating room with four nurses as the tornado destroyed the building.

When the storm cleared, Shay-la’s husband and medical personal rushed her to the nearest medical facility.